Journal: Mathematicians Get it Wrong…Again

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Mathematicians Create Objective Quality of Life Index

The US comes second in a new quality of life index designed to be mathematically objective

Phi Beta Iota: The explanation of this is wrong.  There is nothing “objective” about it, and nothing “subjective” about the other indexes.  What is useful here is “elastic mapping”.  A linear model makes things seem clear, but it introduces distortions. A non-linear modeling technique, while confusing in one sense because you don’t know exactly how it works, it still sensible if you use an image, as they do here, of relaxing springs among all the nodes.  And the result is less distortion, less to criticize, and more opportunity to consider the meaning, as they do here.  GDP gets you something, but health gets you something else, and it would be nice to have a mathematical rule that doesn’t make it completely arbitrary how you balance the two, or the many contrastive factors that you choose.

See Also:
Review: The Hidden Wealth of Nations
Review: The Politics of Happiness–What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being
Review: IDENTITY ECONOMICS–How our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being
Review: Building Social Business–The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs
Review: Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth

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